Bengaluru: A section of Congress leaders strongly feel that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has cleverly played the Dalit CM card to checkmate, his one-time-mentor-turned political foe, H.D. Deve Gowda in the event of a hung assembly as predicted by a majority of exit polls.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader close to the Chief Minister disclosed that by playing this card, Mr Siddaramaiah wants to achieve two things- to prove that he was never against any Dalit leader becoming CM and secondly, to corner Mr Deve Gowda, who had been aggressively pushing his son, H.D. Kumaraswamy for the CM post.
"It looks like Mr Siddaramaiah wants to turn the tables on Mr Gowda who had announced prior to elections that his party was committed to create two Deputy CM posts under Mr Kumaraswamy, one for a Dalit and the other for a minority community candidate. If the Congress goes ahead and chooses a Dalit CM face, it could put Mr Gowda in a dicey situation as he may not be able to say no to this proposal.
And if he does not agree to a Dalit CM face, the Congress can always criticise Mr Gowda for refusing to appoint a Dalit as CM. Also if a Dalit CM of the Congress is appointed as per a pact between the party and JD(S), Mr Gowda would never be able to think of pulling him down as the JD(S) had done in 2007 by refusing to back the BJP’s Yeddyurappa under a power sharing arrangement,” the leader said.
"Mr Gowda's party is steadily losing one community after the other after Mr Siddaramaiah left the JD(S) in 2006. In 2006, Kurubas who largely used to be with the Vokkaligas in the Vokkaliga heartland, deserted him completely, after this, it was the turn of Muslims as they felt cheated when Mr Kumaraswamy struck an alliance with the BJP in 2006 to form a coalition government. If Mr Gowda is forced to bite this Dalit CM bait, he may have to think twice before pulling down the coalition government. That is why Mr Siddaramaiah has played the Dalit CM card," the source explained.